At this point in her career, there shouldn’t be any doubt that Cassie Ramone knows her way around a melody. Between her albums as primary singer and songwriter in Vivian Girls to her collaboration with Kevin Morby in The Babies, Ramone has plenty of successful work under her leather, studded belt. Now, on her first solo album under her own name, we get a stripped-down reminder of her melodic gifts and a magnified vision of her weaknesses: her lyrics and her musicianship.
The Time Has Come doesn’t strike with inevitability as the title suggests. Rather, it feels slight, questionably worth in-depth inspection, but more like a series of afterthoughts on their way to something more polished and full of effort. Interestingly, Ariel Pink plays bass on a number of tracks and wrote the dismissive press bio for the release. Also interestingly, unless you are given this information directly before listening, it is unlikely that you’d come out of The Time Has Come with any impression of the album’s bass.
The album’s best moments are not overly strong, but, rather, inoffensive. The worst moments, though, drift toward misstep. On its second song, the title track, the drifting cut finishes off with Ramone purposefully losing key and warbling an antagonistic series of notes that lose any graces that she might be given. This is followed by “Joe’s Song,” which is unfortunately titled and themed, evoking Lili Taylor’s character in Say Anything, a connection that Ramone’s record would seemingly embrace in its lack of ambition.
With Ramone choosing to deliver a primarily solo acoustic, singer/songwriter effort, it becomes hard to sit back and tune out what is being said in her eight songs, which are mostly of the broken-hearted, sung with a poet’s soul but not a poet’s talent. There is something about the songs that makes the listener empathetic to Ramone’s simple sentiments and song structures, but they would play infinitely better as punk songs, hidden behind noise and emotional wails. As is, The Time Has Come is too raw for its own good, a bit of a vanity release from someone that even with the help of indie music’s most beloved influences, can’t hide the fact that it is just not good enough to stand next to her past output.